Interactive Brokers Reviews

Updated September 1, 2015
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3.4
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Interactive Brokers Chairman, President, and CEO Thomas Peterffy
Thomas Peterffy
40 Ratings

Pros
  • Free lunch (if you stay in office and work during your lunch hour) (in 13 reviews)

  • relaxed atmosphere, helpful coworkers and good benefits (in 2 reviews)

Cons
  • Little to no growth potential for non-programming staff (in 6 reviews)

  • With the internet policy, I feel people who work for a few years will loose any sense of emotion and become extremely apathetic (in 2 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

64 Employee Reviews

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  1. Helpful (4)

    pretty secretive and communist attitude, stingy with salary

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Quantitative Analyst in Greenwich, CT
    Former Employee - Quantitative Analyst in Greenwich, CT
    Doesn't Recommend
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    Learn to code ( it is a programing sweat shop) and Learn basics of finance and trading Get your foot in the door

    Cons

    poor compensation no freedom to be creative Very autocratic the place has a management crisis and a really secretive culture where they dont permit interactions


  2. Helpful (7)

    Avoid this at all costs if you value life outside of work

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Senior Developer in Greenwich, CT
    Current Employee - Senior Developer in Greenwich, CT
    Doesn't Recommend
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    Decent salary is how we get people in the door. Based on performance (and we are pretty fair about this), you can get a decent bonus. There are absolutely no meetings to attend, not any -- ever. So if you like to sit at your desk and just work (i.e., no politics) then that is a plus. 1. The hours are fine -- approximately 9am to 6pm. 2. They allow you $12 per day to order lunch on seamless web.com. 2. The work is fairly interesting IF you get assigned an interesting project. 3. They give you annual "cost of living" increases of 4% per year. THIS IS WHY I AM STILL HERE AFTER 8 YEARS, FYI. It adds up -- quickly!

    Cons

    Benefits, culture, and career. Trust me, you do NOT want to work at this place unless you are 21 and have no life. I got in early, and I'm almost done, but in clear conscience I must tell it like it is. 1. You are expected to be at your desk the entire time, even for lunch. You will be reprimanded if you are away from your desk for too long. 2. You do NOT socialize with your coworkers. Management walks by several times per day and WILL notice this and comment about getting back to work. It has gotten better in the 8 years that I have been here but this is not a place to go to make friends or to have any type of workplace camaraderie. 3. The benefits are horribly, horribly abysmally bad. You'd better not have any type of protracted injuries, for example, because if you need short-term disability (I did once) it provides a MAX of $500 per week for 26 WEEKS (since when is 26 weeks short-term?!!!). A normal policy would provide FULL salary for 6 weeks followed by HALF salary for a much longer term. 4. The benefits also suck for vacation -- you get 2 weeks (10 days) per year. You have to work there for 5 years (!!!) to get another 2 days (!!!). This is a sweat-shop, boys, plain and simple. 5. You will not be exposed to any of the inner-workings of the firm for many, many years. This is prudent on our part, but it also means that YOU WILL NOT LEARN ANYTHING about the brokerage or trading business that you couldn't get by working for 1 year at another firm. You are here to code, plain and simple. Guys -- I got in early and got stock options and I'm almost done with my career. I have had highs and lows with this firm. But I look at some of the new people coming in now, and it's just pathetic that they don't know how much better it can be at other places. I have golden handcuffs -- they do not. Look elsewhere and you'll thank me that you did.

    Advice to Management

    None -- this is a money-making machine and they squeeze everything they can out of labor. It's paid me well and continues to do so.


  3. Helpful (3)

    This company should qualify as #1 worst place to work for

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Treasury Analyst
    Former Employee - Treasury Analyst
    Doesn't Recommend
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    The only one that I can account of is the free lunch you are entitled to. But guess what, you are supposed to eat it at your desk ( which is the whole point of it being free) and if you dare to leave you will be attacked by disapproval looks

    Cons

    -disrespectful management - you will get yelled at for things such as the way you arrange your own desk, the shrift you use etc. You will be constantly treated as being incompetent and worthless. -on your own - This dept is a bunch of people that happen to work together ( very far from team). You are not supposed to ask questions. if you dont get something it's your own fault, don't expect to recieve support. On the contrary, asking for one will put you faster on the unemployment bentch than you think ( happened to a colleague) -Zero employee morale - basically 90% of the treasury team leaves within a year ( true statistics). Main reason - management that creates a sick environment, comparable to a concentration camp. To sum up, do yourself a favor and don't even bother apply. You will not only lose your time but hurt your career and health. Don't do it! There are so many better companies out there ( happen to work for one now) that will put a lot more value on you and your career development.

    Advice to Management

    First day on the job I was told " If you think this is a place where you can chat around with colleagues, you are not int he right place" Turned out to be the total true. I have no other comments.


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  5. Helpful (7)

    Mixed feelings

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Programmer in Greenwich, CT
    Former Employee - Programmer in Greenwich, CT
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at Interactive Brokers full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    - SOME employees are very smart, very good at what they do. - Agree with other commenter that business is run in an ethical manner. ie. doing the right thing even if no one is looking. - Still on the cutting edge in some areas. - Minimal bureaucracy.

    Cons

    - Current incentive structure (no incentivization of employees) guarantees that the smartest and most motivated will leave. This is why HFTs ate their lunch. - Low pay relative to industry. - No growth opportunities. - Company is kept alive by H-1B slave labor. - Some groups are wildly incompetent (eg. HR, Marketing) due to perceived irrelevance by mgmt and these should be fired en masse. - Very anti-social office culture.

    Advice to Management

    Get a life? TP runs this as a hobby, and I can't imagine a more boring hobby. If you're not HUNGRY, or know how to hire/retain people that are, your failure is guaranteed.


  6. Helpful (14)

    Everyone against everyone. Highly political. No life

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Software Engineer in Greenwich, CT
    Former Employee - Software Engineer in Greenwich, CT
    Doesn't Recommend
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Interactive Brokers full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Free lunch and free health insurance (you will regret it later)

    Cons

    The governing style is absolute tyranny. Crazy night/weekend hours, frequent wake-up calls. Your pay will likely not reflect that. Developers are production management team by themselves. Everyone is anti-social. You will never discuss your weekend or kids/family with any of your co-workers. Even an elevator conversation arriving at / departing from work (I am officially off at that time, right?) is all about what projects you or I are working on. Did I just say "kids"? Forget you have kids (or are ever going to have them), and never mention it, or else... (see below) When looking for candidates, top managers always ask their junior managers (who bring candidates to them), if a candidate has any kids. This is outright illegal to ask a candidate of, so I am not sure how they get this information. A typical answer is "well, he/she does, but the youngest one is almost 15 and will soon head out for college." (what?) The process of assigning blame (or getting your things ready in case stuff happens) is very important, and takes about 30% of your work time. Any minor system malfunction looks like a public execution of whoever was found "guilty", and everyone is made aware of that. Managers afraid to make any design decisions, and the most specific request I have ever heard was "build us a system that will work for us". In the end if it doesn't "work as our users were envisioning it in their head" it is all your fault. You will have to pretend your boss (and his/her boss and so on) is the smartest guy on Earth, and you 100% agree with what they say on every account. You cannot possibly have an opinion, and you should feel lucky at any time of day (or night; you do work nights) that you are here. Unprofessionalism, Disrespect, and Hate are the top human qualities here. You will spend most time fighting your peers. Everyone thinks highly of themselves, and hates everyone who is new to the company. People come and go. Some positions are advertised on-going for years because people don't stay for long. Many people who currently work here will be lying about how "great" this place is. They think If they tell you the truth, people will avoid them just because of the strange things they are talking about all the time. This is a typical victim mentality, so I don't blame them for lying. When I spoke to a recruiter, I was surprised with how many people are looking to escape from this place. There are many more things that you should know before you start here, but I want to get back to my Saturday morning, and move on with my life, as reviving these images in my head from a few years ago takes quite a bit of energy and grief. I hope I have given people enough warning to make them stop and think before you make a decision that will affect your life for the next few years. P.S. I have learned a lot. People who work with me right now (at another company) admire my survival skills, and they say I will survive anywhere. Yes, this is a good skill to have, but I wish it hasn't come at such a price. I work at another firm in Finance now, and I am happy with my life, work, and my colleagues. Interactive Brokers is the biggest nightmare of my life.

    Advice to Management

    Invest in your people (no one would listen, but I had to put some text in this box for completeness)


  7. Helpful (8)

    Looking forward to leaving.

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Software Engineer in Greenwich, CT
    Current Employee - Software Engineer in Greenwich, CT
    Doesn't Recommend
    Disapproves of CEO

    I have been working at Interactive Brokers full-time

    Pros

    If you are good, have no ambition, and are willing to put up with the company 'idiosyncrasies' for the long-term, you will be very well compensated. Some other reviewers' comments that I can echo: - A few people are very smart and are a pleasure to work with* and learn from** - Business is run ethically - No red tape * 'Work with' means ask questions and get answers, not collaborate ** Learn C++, see below

    Cons

    Good reviews on Glassdoor are mostly not from programmers. No effort is made to educate employees about markets or the business beyond what is required for your immediate project. "Do your assigned project and don't rock the boat" is the motto. There is essentially no collaboration. You are told what to do and you do it. Benfits are abysmal. - 6.5 year (!!!) vesting schedule for stock bonuses and 401k matches (50% of 10% of contribution), you only get 10% up front (in May) plus 15% per year over 6 years - Two (!!!) weeks of vacation for the first five years, after that, three. - Health insurance is a low-end Cigna plan. Here's an example of how cheap it is; you can only get an eye exam once every two years. I have a feeling anyone who puts the insurance in the 'pro' column has never actually used it. Perks are half-hearted and penny-pinching. - See comments about benefits above - You get $12 from seamless.com to order lunch from crappy restaurants. - "Stocked Fridge": the fridge is stocked with soda. Want a snack? Pretzel sticks. - You wouldn't know it's a multi-billion dollar business from the spartan, depressing offices. If they offered a company car, it would be an engine-less Yugo pulled by a donkey, but hey, it will get you there!

    Advice to Management

    There are ways other than tight golden handcuffs to inspire employee loyalty. Show some concern for making our lives happier and easier.


  8. Helpful (6)

    terrible place

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Greenwich, CT
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Greenwich, CT
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Interactive Brokers full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    good comp & job security. great bonuses. decent benefits. some really smart developers. the annual company party is a nice touch. free lunch.

    Cons

    The work/life balance is non-existent. The first time I tried going out for lunch, I was reprimanded by my manager and told that lunch is to be eaten at my desk, while working. Bullying is alive and well, with senior management routinely screaming at, cursing, and berating employees. The atmosphere is that of a sweatshop. No salary is worth the treatment you'll receive here.


  9. Helpful (6)

    Horrible place. Unless your kids are starving, look elsewhere.

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Operations in Greenwich, CT
    Former Employee - Operations in Greenwich, CT
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at Interactive Brokers full-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    Paycheck and Health Insurance, Free lunch ( that isn't free at all )

    Cons

    Impotent HR, Flawed review process, complete disrespect to employees, Blind following of orders is required, Dysfunctional atmosphere that could be damaging to mental well-being in the long run. Do not confuse this company with any other in the financial filed and do not get fooled by interviewers who are trying to draw a rosy picture, you will regret it later. Low compensation and bonus compared to industry standards.

    Advice to Management

    Invest into employees, review your middle management so that they do not abuse power, start acting like a $6B company. Interview employees and review their goals ambitions and general well being. Give employees ability to submit anonymous reviews of their managers. Educate your middle management, as they are mostly uneducated without any real management experience thinking bullying is an appropriate management style.


  10. Helpful (7)

    Stay away if you are not desperate

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Greenwich, CT
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Greenwich, CT
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Interactive Brokers full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Health insurance better than at most large financial institutions Reasonable hours compared to many financial institutions (approximately 9-6, work through lunch). There are quite a few competent and pleasant people.. if only you could interact with them during business hours!.. If you are a mediocre c++ coder, you will be taught a minimal standard that will make you better.

    Cons

    Low compensation, uncompetitive vesting schedules, unethical authoritarian management, substandard time off policy, and zero flexibility. Your kid is sick and you need to be 2 hours late? Either take 1/2 day off (you get 16 days of sick+vacation), or work two extra hours in the evening. You choose between seeing a sick child, and a chance of a vacation. Sick with a fever? Take a day off. I have seen a lot of sick people putting in the hours. The employer is likely to stick to the letter of the job offer - so read it carefully, and make sure you understand what you are signing. There is no room for professional growth and upward mobility. You are assigned detailed projects (specs) by your manager, and are given no freedom in their execution. The "managers" call and treat all employees as 'programmers' - it is irrelevant that you were trained as an engineer of a scientist. You will be coding to a spec, no matter what. Your manager is your final arbiter. There are some "managers" who cannot stand up to their boss when issues arise. As an alternative, they blame their reports for failures (note the spec part above!), and repeatedly get their reports fired. The upper management did not question this pattern until a handful of people went the revolving door. Interaction with anyone is discouraged. You are paid to type, not to talk. And never, ever should you offer your opinion. Even as you walk in and see that certain areas are 2-3 years behind competitors - stay mum - IB managers already know that they are the best. Your input will get you nothing but trouble.

    Advice to Management

    Get modern management training. Learn to respect your employees and show it. Bring time off/sick leave policy in line with competition (3-4 week vacation, 1-2 weeks of sick leave). Bring deferrals in line with competition (0-30% for most, 2-4 years). Bring comp in line with competition. You are no longer paying well enough for people to disregard the issues. Your most desirable employees are snatched by competition. Who do you think is staying?


  11. Helpful (9)

    rigid management and culture

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at Interactive Brokers full-time

    Pros

    - some great engineers. - free lunch (at a cost)

    Cons

    - free lunch at the cost of your lunch break. - no growth and they don't care. same sh*t everyday. - rigid management. you better be a machine that functions only to finish tasks. - expect to work all time. eyes on you. - don't expect help or communication. they are non-existent. - many more....



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